Christopher Rice is the New York Times Best Selling author of such books as “A Density of Souls”, “The Snow Garden”, “Light Before Day”, “Blind Fall”, “The Moonlit Earth” and his latest, “The Heavens Rise”, set to be released October 15th, 2013.
“The Heavens Rise” is Rice’s first foray into the supernatural genre, a field wildly populated by some of the best writers in the business.
He is also the co-host of the extremely popular internet radio program, “The Dinner Party Show”, free to listeners everywhere and broadcast Sunday nights at 8:00 pm EST. Hysterically funny, the show includes weekly guests, timely discussions and featured correspondents all created by Mr. Rice and his fellow co-host, Eric Shaw Quinn.
In this new interview, Christopher Rice discusses his reasons for choosing a new literary road, the supernatural authors he admires, and his obligations when it comes to dressing up as a certain vampire, familiar to his family.
1) The Heavens Rise is a new genre for you. Why did you decide to try your hand at the supernatural?
I've been wanting to try supernatural for years but I was actively discouraged from doing so by various editors. They insisted that unless I did something directly in line with what my mother had done, there was no point. It was very discouraging to hear this and knocked the wind out of me on a few occasions. The other side of it was that it took me a while to find a concept I could really sink into. I had circled the idea of doing a novel about aliens for years. I think the entire genre is languishing and ripe for a reboot after X-Files exhaustion, but I haven't found the right way in yet. Ironically, I arrived at this supernatural idea the same way I arrived at all of my non-supernatural novels, by diving into a group of characters I wanted to write about and exploring their dynamic. The discover that one of them had a terrifying yet magical gift - mind control - was something that happened organically while I was trying to figure out who they were.
2) You're in some pretty impressive company as a new supernatural author. Do you worry about comparisons?
I let that worry go a while ago. Mom and I have very distinct writing styles. My novels are much grittier and more contemporary than hers, and we're both fully aware of that and we think it's something worth celebrating when we talk about our work together. I like to describe THE HEAVENS RISE as a crazy fusion of James Lee Burke and Stephen King.
3) You've also gone back home to New Orleans as the setting for The Heavens Rise. Was it a natural choice or did it take a lot of consideration?
The desire to write another New Orleans novel came to me before the desire to write a supernatural novel. My first novel was set there, A DENSITY OF SOULS (I just released a new e-book edition of it, by the way, with a brand new afterword by yours truly about the crazy publication experience of it) but I'm older now and my perspectives on the city and its various communities have all matured. I love DENSITY and other people love DENSITY but there's an aspect to it that's very unforgiving and it's a brutal depiction of adolescence. While bad things happen to the characters in THE HEAVENS RISE, much of it while they're still high schoolers, their shared experience prior to that is softer, gentler and more in line with what I actually went through as a teenager in New Orleans.
4) Who are your favorite supernatural/horror writers and why? (Family excluded)
Robert McCammon is a huge influence. I discovered his work recently and if I hadn't read his novel STINGER when I did, I'm not sure I would have decided to write a supernatural novel. It has a great genre high-concept but the writing is beautiful and intelligent, and the characters are interesting, the depictions of a hardscrabble desert town beset by an alien invasion are atmospheric and rich. I just loved everything about it and I thought, "I want to try for something like this." I'm thrilled that Rick gave such a great quote to the book. In terms of process, it's like coming full circle.
5) Your running a giveaway/promotion for people who pre-order The Heavens Rise. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?
Yes. Today publishing is all about pre-orders. It's a testament to the new digital age we're living in. So I decided to reward people for pre-ordering the book. (Details can be found at this link: thedinnerpartyshow.com/2013/04/the-heavens-rise) Pre-order any edition from any retailer in any country, e-mail your receipt to email@example.com and I will send you a signed copy of an original manuscript featuring author notes. And yes, I'm hand signing each one! Fulfillment will happen in late November once the tour for THE HEAVENS RISE has been concluded.
6) Your scheduled to attend The Anne Rice Vampire Lestat Fan Club Annual Ball this October with your Mom and mentioned on your popular Internet radio show The Dinner Party Show that you're contractually obligated to dress up as Lestat. Is that written on your birth certificate or something you had to sign when you learned to write?
Ha. I was actually joking. I still don't know what I'm going to dress as, though. I asked people on the new Facebook page for the book - www.facebook.com/theheavensrise - what they thought and the answers were all across the board, so I'm still not sure!
7) In a recent interview with the Anne Rice Examiner, Anne said she believed story-telling ability might be attributed to DNA when it comes to the offspring of accomplished writers who also become authors. Do you agree?
It might be in the DNA, but it helps if your parents work to bring it out of you as you develop. Encouragement is key and I got plenty of it while I was growing up and so I'm very grateful.
I hope you enjoyed the above interview with Christopher Rice. If you have and would like to read more author interviews, book reviews and the latest publication news, please hit the subscribe button above.
And, as always, for all things Anne Rice please visit the "Anne Rice Examiner" page, where you will find the latest info on her new book, "The Wolves of Midwinter", the sequel to "The Wolf Gift", also set to be released on October 15th. We will also keep you up-to-date on any new tour dates on her soon to be announced book tour.
Coming up, a review of "The Cuckoo's Calling", by J.K. Rowling (writing under the pseudonym, Robert Galbraith).
See you next time!